act2create: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

Today, I will be sharing an important book on Financial fitness. Irrespective of whichever country you may be living in, this book will make total sense to you. If you apply the principles outlined in this book, it will change and surely improve your financial life and your concern on the big question “MONEY“. How do I know? This book has sold 300 million copies worldwide and I have followed the principles outlined which work.

act2create - total-money-makeover
act2create – total-money-makeover

We all go through school, college and education to find a well paying job, profession or a business. Once we begin to earn, we see and feel money which was not available to us earlier while we were a student. When the money is available, our spending increases and our desires have no bounds. Apple Inc. releases the newest phone in the market and the thought that comes to the mind is to be the first one to grab it. We party in costly restaurants, buy the fancy clothes and shoes out of the money which we have earned. Once the money is no longer available, we have the option of credit cards and doom, you are now in debt. While you may be submerged in small debt, your habits do not change and over a period of time the small debt has compounded to a big one. Now there is more month than money in your pocket.

By the time you are living your life and working, marriage approaches and now you need a house. A new one basically. You now have a credit card loan, a home loan and a family to feed. So there is still more month than money. Once you are 40, you see that you haven’t saved much and now you wish to address that problem as well. So now there is a question about Retirement and saving enough for future. Fast forward 20 years and you are retired but you have less money and you are more worried. Post your retirement, you seem to be short of money and you are now looking for ways to earn money or you decide to rely on your kids. BUT will they help? If not then what will you do?

If the above story seems similar to you even in the slightest case then it is time to wake up. This book has step by step guidance on how to build your financial health. It is not about any shortcut but all about a proven plan for financial fitness. Once you follow the steps in this book, you will yourself see the difference and sleep peacefully. I found this book when I read about the description on one of the blog’s. I immediately rushed to see the reviews and there were all praises. I ordered the original book which was shipped to me from USA after spending a small fortune and I have been following it religiously. The money I have spent on this book has been worth it and I would highly recommend you to apply the principles as well. I have already shared in my earlier post why I hated credit cards (link). That was one of the step which I followed from this book. It has been more than 4 years and I do not have a single credit card today. All thanks to this book.

Conclusion: This book is highly recommended for your financial fitness. There are seven steps mentioned in this book and each step requires time ranging from 3 months to 2 years. I am still at step number 4 since I began about 3 years ago but I am less concerned today than I was earlier. This book should be made a part of school/college syllabus. 

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act2create: Help which I take while running

Running for me totally turned out to be a broader subject than what I had thought when I began. I never cared how I should land my feet on the ground, I never thought how important it was to stay hydrated every 20 minutes nor did I bother how much distance I was covering. I simply had one plain goal and now I realize how vague it really was, “to run for 20 minutes daily”.

Its been less than 1 month and 10 days since I began with my new year resolution to stay fit, I have made some decent progress till now. I have failed many times, injured myself and even had many negative thoughts in my mind but I am dedicated to my goal. My daily office job comprises of a 9 hours desk duty and a 4 hours travelling journey. With the little time I have in the morning, I have been able to spare an hour of my time thrice every week to run at the park. I take stairs wherever possible instead of lifts and escalators and as I do not own any vehicle, I carry my 3 year old daughter to her school by holding her in my arms for a 10 minutes distance and return home walking. My methods are plain yet they have given results. I can already feel that my waist line has trimmed and my trousers are now supported by belts which are using new holes than earlier.

Here’s what I carry with me during running at the park:

My Android Cellphone with Nike+ application installed in it: This is simply an amazing app. I get numeric results using this application. I get to know the calories, distance in miles and encouragement from this app.

Shamelessly I stole my 3 year old daughters water pouch: My daughter received it as a birthday gift last month and she did not like it 😛 . I decided to put it to my use. I carry around 150-200 ml of water in this pouch and drink the water from it every 20 minutes while running. The objective is not to quench my thirst but I carry it with me to avoid my throat and mouth going dry. I can fold this pouch and I keep it in my pocket.

act2create - Water pouch
act2create – Water pouch

Corseca Bluetooth Headphones: These were gifted to me by my office colleagues. Instead of a wired based headphones, I use them to stay hands free and I do not have to worry if they may slip from my ears. They have a decent 700 Mah battery life which lasts for more than a week.

act2create - Corseca headphones and my digital watch
act2create – Corseca headphones and my digital watch

Audibooks: I have very spare time with me and I love reading. Anything which adds value to my life or helps me keep lifted, I simply love such posts, articles or books. With the little time I have, I do not get any time to read physical books. I tried reading some during my journey to office but it was painful for my eyes and I felt restless. I have atleast 10-15 audiobooks in my cellphone which cover topics from finance, positive thinking, discipline and you can name anything positive. If you guys can share anything which you think is worth reading, please feel free to do so. It is fun to get fit and educated at the same time while I am running 🙂

Digital Watch: Before the Nike+ app, I used to use the timer option from my watch to determine the duration for my each run. I do not use this now but it helped me earlier to gain the momentum.

Three quarter pants: They help me to carry the money in my pocket, my water pouch and also my cell phone. I feel comfortable with them.

Shoes: I am using the sports shoes but I feel they are a bit heavier. I will have to invest in a more costlier lightweight sports shoes shortly.

There is a phrase, “use what floats your boat“. I am doing the same. It is better to try various combinations and settle for what works for you.

act2create: Another failed day of workout :(

This month, I am trying to improvise on my goal of waking up early i.e. 6.00 A.M. and preparing for the first dream run of my life at the half marathon on Feb 15th, 2015. During my last two runs, I managed to run beyond 4 and 6 miles and I was happy with what I had achieved since I began from January this year.

As per my alternate workout plan, today was meant to be a day for workout. The alarm was set for 6.15 A.M. in the morning and I decided that I should manage to wake-up come what may. The alarm rang and I woke-up as planned. Also as I shared earlier, I am now carrying a small water pouch in my pocket to address the problem of my mouth and throat going dry while running for a longer distance. I was geared up for the run at the joggers park and 3-2-1, the Nike+ app gave me the indication that I should begin my run. The goal today was to run for 7 miles which meant I would be running for more than a hour.

I completed my first mile in less than 9 minutes and I felt great. The second mile seemed like a pain today and I felt I should quit. Every minute, I was telling my mind that I had to have a stronger mind over my lazy body and I should not settle today for less than the dream run distance. It was as if my mind wanted me to be strong but my body said, “quit!”. My legs were heavy and I could feel pain in my calves which made me realize that my running technique was not right today. Committed to my goal, I completed my third mile but I stopped at the center of the park. I felt terrible!

act2create: Failed workout landmark today
act2create: Failed workout landmark today

My biggest fear for now is facing a day like today at the dream run. I have practiced for a short time and I have achieved the dream run landmark during my last practice. If a day like today happens at the dream run then that would mean a big disappointment to me. I am sure it was just a bad today today but…

act2create: The monk who sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma

Another wonderful book which I would like to discuss today is the best seller book “The Monk who sold his Ferrari” by Robin Sharma. A friend of mine and I were discussing a few months ago about books and he referred to me about this one. I had heard the title of this book for a long time but the name of the book itself sounded so weird to me that I never felt like reading this one. I thought it must be a book on choosing retirement and giving up worldly pleasures to choose the path of being a monk. Until I read the book, my stupid perception completely changed.

act2create-The monk who sold his Ferrari
act2create-The monk who sold his Ferrari

If I were asked to describe this book in a sentence then I would say that this book is about “maintaining work-life balance effectively“. If you were to think about a typical perception of a monk in your mind, you would have thought of a man in a saffron colored dress and meditating. You would also think of someone who has detached himself from the typical human wants which we all look forward to. This book however is totally opposite of what we may believe at first without having read it completely.

The story revolves around a well renowned and a rich lawyer who suffers a heart attack in a courtroom. Once he recovers, he decides to sell off all his priced possessions including his Ferrari in search of something in India which is unknown. His assistant is disheartened to know that his boss choose retirement after the heart attack and headed for India without being kind enough to let him know as they had shared a good relationship. The twist of the tale is that the assistant is surprised to see a Monk one fine day in his office who is actually his retired ex boss and now a muscular vibrant looking man. The assistant is keen to know the reason for his well being and his positive grace wherein the boss shares all the teachings which he received during his stay in India at a Savannah.

This book can be termed as a book for life and it has been in the book sellers shelf for a very long time. Indeed it is a good book and it gives you all sorts of advice which we generally look out for. The book mentions about taking risks, courage, happiness, work-life balance, exercising and all the positive stuff. Although a best seller, this book has too many advice shared by the author and if I were to use this book as a ready reckon then I would have had difficulties understanding which advice should I choose first to begin with. The messages and the language of the book is simple yet a little vague to some extent. If you were to tell me to exercise from tomorrow then I would consider it as a good advice but you did not tell me which exercises should I begin with.

Conclusion: This book is a good read but a one time read. You would probably have to make your own notes simultaneously while reading this book. If you are somebody like that kind of a personality who takes notes then this book will do wonders for you. If not, you will at least feel positive and clarity about how you should live your life. The language is simple and clear. If you manage to get access to a book library, I would suggest you to at least browse through the contents of the book and see if the content seems suitable for you. Even if not, just browse through the main points to gain from the rich content.

act2create: The Miracles of Self-Discipline by Brian Tracy

act2create-The miracles of self discipline
act2create-The miracles of self discipline

I feel really obsessed towards the self-help and personal development category of books and articles. In the year 2014, I may have read/heard almost 25+ books/audiiobooks and it has helped me realize that the one common principle which is the most important aspect of your success is “YOU“.

Like me, you too may have read or heard many books and articles but they are all useless until the point you act using whatever little you may know. Great leaders or sportsman did not wait for a book to tell them what they could accomplish but instead they simply acted on their decisions and made it count by delivering results.

Knowledge without practical application is a waste of time

Since YOU are the most important aspect of your success, your success will be determined by your ability to push yourself towards a clearly defined goal. This ability on a regular basis is called discipline and that is what Brian Tracy explains through his book, “The Miracles of Self Discipline“.

If you were to ask me which is the only book you could recommend for self development then it would be this. Brian has worked his way to the top and it is great to see and hear people like him who make you realize that hard work pays. He explains through his book how he worked his way to the top and what kind of discipline it takes to move up the ladder of success.

Conclusion: Although this book is about self discipline and your and mine goals may be different in the areas where we need to improve upon but the principle of discipline remains common for us to achieve our respective goal. There are no methodologies explained in the book but this book is all about mental toughness. After reading this book, you will understand how important it is to improve the quality of communication in your own mind to reach one step closer each day towards your goal. I personally rate this book at the greatest rank and I may have myself read this book more than 3 to 4 times when I felt I was drifting from my goal. Highly recommended to read.

act2create: Making the shift by Darren Hardy

act2create-Making The Shift by Darren Hardy
act2create-Making The Shift by Darren Hardy

Audiobooks are a great way of education. They help in building an understanding and gaining knowledge on the run. I always carry a set of Audiobooks in my cell phone and whenever I get an opportunity to listen to them, I do so with eagerness. They not only help in saving the physical space in your shelf but I also enjoy the fact that I do not have to burden my bags while heading for someplace.

So let me share my experience with another wonderful Audiobook, “Making the Shift” by Darren Hardy. If you have had an opportunity to read the book named “The compound Effect” which was written by the same author then you will realize that it was something common sense which he was trying to explain to us yet we never gave a thought to it. Let me explain it with a simple example: If I were to give you a dollar each day from the 1st of January till the end of the year i.e. 31st December and if you never spent a dollar anywhere then how much would you have in total at the end? The answer is definitely 365. Thus what this simple maths is trying to tell you is that if you make one change or move one step forward each day then you would have moved 365 steps further. This simple logic is called the compound effect and it is worth giving a thought. I have been able to write one or two posts each day and the result of the same is that I have written 43 posts in a time span of less than 35 days. This is also called compounding.

Let me get back to this Audibook, “Making the Shift”. If you are somebody like me who does not necessarily love his office job but goes to work to earn the daily bread for his family and pay bills then this a good book to begin with. This Audiobook does a good job to make you understand what it takes to shift from job to business. It also explains, why the society will tell you that Business means risks and why people around you may criticize you and pull you down to their level. It also tries to help you build an understanding as to how you should deal with them and take help from your family at an emotional level.

An effective Audiobook is one which asks you to take action and not just listen. This is where it falls a little short. At the end of the Audiobook you will be given a short experiment which requires you to head towards rejections and failures but I feel that just a short exercise is not enough. If you were to simply receive rejection and failures then a weaker mind may feel more depressed and low. It is success and clear visible results that motivates us all.

Conclusion: The author “Darren Hardy” is one of the few people who advocates the route of hard work and pain instead of loose your belly in 30 days using the belts and capsules. It is difficult to sell theories that try to tell you about paths of hard work instead of short cuts. I would advise you listen to this to start building an understanding for a shift.

act2create: Running with the giants by John Maxwell

act2create-Running with the giants
act2create-Running with the giants

I found this book accidentally while I was looking for a book on running. Let me share my experience on this book in the shortest manner as possible and whether you should read or not.

This book belongs to the self-help category and if you are looking for any specific methods or techniques that will be shared by John Maxwell then you may be disappointed. There are references throughout the book for the teachings of Bible and stories which serve as an inspiration as to why few people manage to become great although they faced obstacles and failures. These old stories serve as a reminder to us today that the basic principles of success are still the same. Through out the book, you will feel one common message being said “C’mon! you can do it and don’t quit!“.

If you are a runner, you can switch to an audiobook version of this book and listen to it while running to keep you motivated mentally. Buying a handbook version does not seem sensible or worth your money as you won’t feel motivated at the same level every time you read the same content over and over again. I am sure if I had bought a handbook version then it would have been lying on my shelf for days.